BES4 to ScanNCut: Appliqué Cut File from Placement Stitches

Artwork created in BES4 with elements separated

by Cathy Ellsaesser, posted on

I do a lot of embroidery with appliqués.  All appliqué designs, as far as I know, provide a “placement stitch” so you know where to put your fabric for the appliqué.  Many people will place a piece of fabric larger than the placement stitch, and tack it down with the “tack down stitch”. They then cut close to the tack down stitch, trimming away the excess fabric. This is a quick and easy technique for simple appliqués. However, this can be tedious for complicated appliqués. So, for those appliqués, I create an appliqué cut file, and use my Brother ScanNCut.

The placement stitch in the embroidery design is the appliqué cut line for the ScanNCut. The ScanNCut takes files with a .fcm extension, and embroidery editing software such as Floriani’s FTCu make it easy to export the placement stitch as an appliqué cut file for the ScanNCut.  Another program that can export the placement stitch as an appliqué cut file (.fcm) is Brother’s BES4 Dream Edition.

BES4 Dream Edition

In a previous blog, Make It Personal By Creating a Monogram: Part 2, Monogramming Software & Machines, I described BES4 as a tool for monogramming. Although primarily for lettering and monogramming, the BES4 Dream Edition™ Embroidery Lettering Software is a full-featured desktop software that includes a wireless upgrade for select Brother machines.  (If you think that this software is only for owners of the Dream Machine, think again. Select Brother machines can use the wireless hardware included with BES4. So, if you have a Brother Quattro or a Dreamweaver, you might be able to use the BES4 wireless feature.)

With BES4, you can take the placement stitch for an appliqué and create an appliqué cut file for use on the ScanNCut. So for this blog, I’ll show you how to create an appliqué cut file for the ScanNCut with BES4.

Create Appliqué Cut File

For this example, I am using a file from an Anita Goodesign collection  The Cool Kids.

Open File

Launch BES4, and select Open a Design at the bottom of the screen.

Screen shot of BES4 opening screen

Navigate to the directory where your stitch file is located, select your file and click on Open.

screen shot of selecting file to open in BES


Select Placement Stitch(es)

From the sequence view of the design, find the placement stitch(es) for the appliqué. As a general rule, you can scan the sequence list and pick the first sequence that creates the appliqué. Usually in Anita Goodesign collections, the placement stitches are all the same thread color (in this case, Prussian Blue). The tack down stitch is always after the placement stitch.

Hold down the Ctrl key to multi-select if needed.

screen shot of multi-select applique placement stitches to create appliqué cut file in BES4

Create the ScanNCut Artwork

When you create ScanNCut artwork from an appliqué in an imported stitch file, such as *.pes,  a special procedure must be followed. This procedure involves converting the first run stitch segment of the appliqué (the placement stitch) to a specific Brother thread color, which the ScanNCut tool then converts to a filled artwork segment.

To use the ScanNCut tool with stitch files:

  1. Select the Color Palette icon. palette icon in BES4
  2. If necessary, change the current thread chart to Brother Embroidery
    Screen shot of list of palettes in BES4
  3. In the thread palette, change the color of the appliqué placement stitch to Brother: Appliqué Material (100).
    Screen shot of changing color of placement stitch to Brother Embroidery: Applique material (100)
  4. Click on the Tools in the menu, then click the ScanNCut button.
    Screen shot of tools/ScanNCut button in BES4 to create appliqué cut file

An Artwork tab will open in the workspace, containing the artwork segment(s).

Note that four artwork sequences were created. Click on the + sign next to the sequence to expand it.

Screen shot of artwork created in BES4 that will become appliqué cut file

Export .fcm File

Export the artwork shown above to an appliqué cut file for the ScanNCut. If you wish, separate out the pieces before exporting.

Artwork created in BES4 with to create appliqué cut file elements separated

Click on Export FCM Export FCM icon in BES4from the Tools menu

Screen shot of Export FCM button in BES4 that will create to create .fcm appliqué cut file

Save .fcm File to USB stick

The .fcm file is the appliqué cut file for the ScanNCut. Save your .fcm file to either your computer or to a usb stick that can be used in the ScanNCut.

Screen shot of saving fcm file to usb stick in BES4

Note: With BES4 you can set up a “cloud” account, and save the design to the cloud. This enables you to send your .fcm file from the cloud to the ScanNCut directly. I’ll tell you how to do that in an upcoming blog.

The ScanNCut

Load Cut File

Once you have your design on the usb stick, you can load it into the ScanNCut.

  1. Touch Pattern from the ScanNCut home screen.
    photo of home screen on ScanNCut
  2. Select Saved Data.
    ScanNCut screen showing choice for where to retrieve pattern
  3. Touch the USB icon.
    Photo of ScanNCut screen with selections for location of cut files
  4. Select the appliqué cut file (.fcm) you want to cut.
    Photo of ScanNCut screen showing appliqué cut file on USB stick
    Note: Sometimes when the appliqué cut file comes from stitch files that have been converted to artwork, the thumbnail of the file is shown as a black square. Not sure why that is, but once you open it, it’s fine. Then you can save it, overwriting the file on the usb stick and it will show the cut lines on the thumbnail.
  5. Click on OK
    photo of ScanNCut screen once appliqué cut file has been loaded

Arrange Pieces for Cutting

  1. Separate the individual pieces for cutting, allowing sufficient space between each group for placement of desired fabric.
  2. Select the edit icon on the ScanNCut Photo of Edit Icon on ScanNCut, and arrange the different pieces, then click on OK.
    Photo of ScanNCut screen with elements of appliqué cut file spaced out
  3. Arrange your fabric on your mat, and cut out the appliqués.

Next Up: Making the Appliqué Just a Little Bigger

Be aware that cutting the appliqué directly on the placement line may cause a problem. If the cover stitch used to hide the raw edge is narrow, it might not cover the edge of the appliqué sufficiently, leaving some of the raw edge showing. This has happened to me on occasion where the cover stitch is narrow.

Photo of napkin with some applique edges showing

In my next blog, I’ll show you how to use BES4 to increase the size of your appliqué just a little to alleviate this problem. So stay tuned!


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